Digital Now 8% of UK Book Sales, Says PA

In Global Trade Talk by Hannah Johnson

By Hannah Johnson

On May 1, the Publishers Association (PA) of the UK released their Statistics Yearbook 2011, a report on the performance of the UK publishing market. According to the Yearbook, digital sales — specifically e-books, audio book downloads and online subscriptions — accounted for 8% of total invoices sales of books in 2011, up from 5% over 2010.

Consumer e-book sales increased 366% in 2011 over the previous year. However, total book sales in 2011, digital and print, dropped by 2% to £3.2 billion. The average book price also dropped by 1.3%.

In the academic and professional segments, digital products account for 13% of total book revenues. Book sales to schools grew by 6.1% to £271 million.

The report also notes that exports generated 41% of UK publishers’ revenue. Exports are particularly strong in East and South Asia, Central and South America — Brazil in particular.

“Across fiction, non-fiction, children’s and academic books, the story of the year is a decline in physical sales almost being compensated for by a strong performance in digital,” said PA Chief Executive Richard Mollet, in a prepared statement.

“That said,” Mollet continues, “physical books remain the format of choice for the vast majority of British readers, underlining the continued importance of a strong ‘high street’ sector.”

The PA collects data for the Yearbook from 2,240 publishers representing 100% of UK publisher sales, and 70% of total UK book sales

About the Author

Hannah Johnson


Hannah Johnson is the publisher of international book industry magazine Publishing Perspectives, which provides daily information and news about book markets around the world. In addition to building partnerships with international cultural and trade organizations, she works with the Frankfurt Book Fair to organize and support a number of its overseas initiatives. Hannah has also worked as the managing editor for an online media company, The Hooch Life, focused on craft distillers and cocktail experts. Prior to that, she worked as a project manager for the Frankfurt Book Fair’s New York office, managing various business and marketing activities.